Auxiliary verbs

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Auxiliary verbs

A. There are two verbs in each of these sentences:

have lost    my keys.
Shecan't cometo the party.
The hotelwas builtten years ago
Wheredo you live? 

In these examples have/can't/was/do are auxiliary (= helping) verbs.

You can use an auxiliary verb (without the rest of the sentence) when you don't want to repeat something:

  • 'Have you locked the door?' 'Yes, I have.' (= I have locked the door)
  • George wasn't working but Janet was. (= Janet was working)
  • She could lend me the money but she won't. (= she won't lend me the money)
  • 'Are you angry with me?' 'Of course I'm not.' (= I'm not angry)

Use do/does/did for the present and past simple:

  • 'Do you like onions?' 'Yes, I do.' (= I like onions)
  • 'Does Mark smoke?' 'He did but he doesn't any more.'

B. We use have you? / isn't she? / do they? etc. to show polite interest in what somebody has said:

  • 'I've just met Simon.' 'Oh, have you? How is he?'
  • 'Liz isn't very well today.' 'Oh, isn't she? What's wrong with her?'
  • 'It rained every day during our holiday.' 'Did it? What a pity!'

Sometimes we use these 'short questions' to show surprise:

  • 'Jim and Nora are getting married.' 'Are they? Really?'

C. We use auxiliary verbs with so and neither:

  • 'I'm feeling tired.'  'So am I.' (= I'm feeling tired too)
  • 'I never read newspapers.' 'Neither do I.' (=1 never read newspapers either)
  • Sue hasn't got a car and neither has Martin.

Note the word order after so and neither (verb before subject):

  • I passed the exam and so did Tom. (not 'so Tom did')

You can use nor instead of neither:

  • 'I can't remember his name.' 'Nor can I.'    or    'Neither can I.'

You can also use '...not...either':

  • 'I haven't got any money.' 'Neither have I.' or 'Nor have I.' or 'I haven't either.'

D. I think so/I hope so etc.

After some verbs you can use so when you don't want to repeat something:

  • 'Are those people English?' T think so.' (= I think they are English)
  •  'Will you be at home tomorrow morning?' 'I expect so.' (= I expect I'll be at home...)
  • 'Do you think Kate has been invited to the party?' 'I suppose so.'

You can also say I hope so, I guess so and I'm afraid so.

The usual negative forms are:

I think so/I expect so  —>   I don't think so / I don't expect so
I hope so / I'm afraid so/I guess so   —>   I hope not / I'm afraid not /I guess not
I suppose so  —>   I don't suppose so or I suppose not
  • 'Is that woman American?' 'I think so. /I don't think so.'
  • 'Do you think it's going to rain?' 'I hope so. / I hope not.' (not ‘I don't hope so')


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